SHAFAQNA – Retired Mossad agents called on South Africa’s government to crack down on BDS, or face a massive cyber attack.
Israeli intelligence veterans threatened to launch a major cyber attack on South Africa unless the government crushed a pro-Palestinian activist movement, according to leaked documents revealed Tuesday.
On June 28, 2012, South Africa’s then Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan received a letter issuing an ultimatum: unless the South African government stamp out the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign within 30 days his country’s financial sector and banking network would be thrown into chaos by aggressive cyberattacks.
The details of the letter were revealed in leaked documents obtained by Al Jazeera and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.
The cyberattacks appear to never have taken place, though according to an Al Jazeera report, the authors of the letter received by Gordhan claimed to be former agents from Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
The authors boasted of being part of the team that developed Stuxnet – a virus that devastated Iran’s nuclear program in 2010.
Earlier this month, Russian researchers discovered malware related to Stuxnet that is difficult to detect even for security experts, and almost impossible to remove.
Launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society groups, BDS calls on the international community to impose economic restrictions on Israel, including sanctions. The aim of the movement is to pressure Israel into dismantling its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
While the BDS movement has garnered support across the world, South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress has been one of the most strident governmental supporters of the campaign.
The ANC officially endorsed BDS just months after Gordhan received the ultimatum. During its annual conference in 2012, the ANC declared “the Palestinians are the victims and the oppressed in the conflict with Israel.”
The conference ended with the ANC urging “all South Africans to support the programs and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution.”